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Martin Luther King - Day of Service, January 19, 2015

Fig Lancaster

Borough Of DoylestownPennsylvania

A Powerful Partnership
in Education

For those of you who know a teacher or perhaps have a teacher in your family, you can appreciate what I’m about to say.  That beloved month of the year has arrived -- June is here!  (Yes, it’s not just the kids who are counting down the days.)  Now, if only the phrase “school’s out” signified the same thing for both kids and educators.  For students, there’s at least eight glorious, homework-free weeks of summer fun ahead!  For teachers, not so much.  I’m not complaining, mind you.  I do appreciate the change of scenery from my four classroom walls.  In fact, my guess is that there are few professions in which you get to walk away from the day-to-day demands of your job for a several months, to refuel, rethink, and revive yourself! For that I am immensely grateful.

But I actually look forward to June for another reason altogether.  Why?  Because it’s a time of year which forces us (by us I mean educators) to participate in the highly effective and productive habit of reflection.  You see, teachers are always evaluating, not just students, but ourselves.  We’re always thinking of new ways to instruct, to motive, or to inspire students.  It’s truly part of our DNA as educators.  It’s in June that we naturally reflect upon what worked and what didn’t work so well in our classrooms.  Then, it becomes our “summer job” to think of ways to do it “bigger or better” the following school year.

Reflection, in many cases, leads to innovation. But, what does it actually mean to be innovative? Teachers love any excuse to force others to define words, so here goes:
Definition:  in•no•va•tive [ ínn? vàytiv ]  new and creative, especially in the way that something is done.  
Synonyms:  groundbreaking; pioneering, state-of-the-art, inventive, original

Yet, very few people can truly be innovative without the help of others. Creativity in the classroom is at its best when supported by the community at large.  Finding and building partnerships with parents, local businesses and organizations, and other like-minded groups of people often results in new opportunities for student exploration and success. The Doylestown-based CB Cares Educational Foundation is one local organization who is supporting such efforts with it’s first-ever “Innovative Learning Grants” presented to Central Bucks School District professionals including teachers and principals.  The nonprofit foundation, whose mission is to provide developmental asset-based programs in our local community, is funding this new program through the Educational Tax Credit Program (EITC) through the state of Pennsylvania. (Local businesses looking for ways to support the work of school professionals through this program may contact CB Cares Executive Director Kimberly Cambra at kcambra@dh.org.)

What’s this mean to local educators?  Plenty!  It means a project, a new approach, a new vision can move forward in a classroom.  For a teacher, it doesn’t get much better than that! CB Cares Foundation presented $8,200 to nine teachers last month through its competitive award process.  Through this powerful partnership new projects, approaches, and methods to enhance curriculum are now possible.  The scope of “innovativeness” is impressive.  From grants to fund bullying prevention initiatives and “buddy benches,” to technology for Kindergarteners and building classroom libraries, to initiatives such as “Global Kids” and “Ghana Walk” to create global awareness and support of students and schools in Africa, and restorative practices at the high school level.

That old expression, “It takes a village…” holds true.  Educators depend on partnerships like this one and others to provide opportunities for learning and exploration that perhaps their students wouldn’t have otherwise had without community support.  As a local educator, I admit quite readily that we are fortunate to have such support here locally in the Doylestown.  In the end, however, it’s not about the teacher, but the hundreds of students who are impacted positively by the programs such funds and grants support. There’s no doubt that area educators who benefited from “partnerships in education” will find themselves reflecting upon unique solutions and innovativeness that worked this school year -- maybe even freeing themselves up for just a little bit of fun, and perhaps a little bit less work, this summer!


Karen Snyder - Live & Learn

Karen considers herself both teacher and student. As an educator for more than two decades, she has taught students of all ages – from preschoolers to graduate students. Yet, she agrees we’re not always in need of a teacher.  There’s much to learn and experience from the world around us – especially right here in Doylestown. Prior to becoming an educator, Karen pursued her passion for writing as a corporate communications professional for Fortune 500 companies, a public relations consultant, and as freelance editor and contributing writer to several parenting and travel magazines. Karen relocated to beautiful Bucks County from Baltimore 17 years ago and quickly became Doylestown proud. Join her as she shares opportunities for “ageless” learning right here in our own back yard.  She promises -- no homework!

Local coach honored by CB Cares

By Sam Cooper Staff Writer | Posted: Sunday, June 3, 2012 12:00 am

Role models are essential in aiding a child’s development into adulthood. For that reason, a Bucks County organization honored someone last week who has demonstrated the attributes of a great role model.

Bryan Rosica, head coach of the Buckingham United “Blast” U12 soccer team, received the first CB Cares Positive Coach Award. Rosica was nominated by four families whose children he coaches.

Rosica was honored Friday night as part of the First Friday event in Doylestown. He was presented with an award, along with $500.

One of the families who honored Rosica, the Endres, lauded Rosica’s “demeanor and positive encouragement.”

“He is teaching our son the game of soccer in terms of skill, but more importantly a code of conduct,” said Mark Endres.

Endres and his wife, Barbara, added that Rosica deserves special recognition and teaches that the game should be played with “the highest of character, sportsmanship and respect.” He added that the whole team feels this way.

To honor Rosica, CB Cares partnered with the Jones family of Chalfont, a family of Central Bucks athletes who provided the $500 award and have appreciated the importance of recognizing a coach who is a positive role model and has a positive influence on young people.

The winner was determined by a group of judges who selected Rosica as a fine example of a coach who lives and promotes the “40 assets,” a mantra promoted by CB Cares to aid the “building blocks of healthy development that help young people grow up healthy, caring and responsible.”

Police Officer Arrests People for "Tips"

The Doylestown officer used an effective strategy to boost the amount donated to Central Bucks youth nonprofit CB Cares.

Dave Carlen had a slight advantage over the other waiters and waitresses at this year's CB Cares gala.

He can arrest people.

The Doylestown police officer, for the second year in a row, came out on top as the waiter who earned the most tips at the Chef & Waiter Gala, the annual foodie fundraiser that benefits CB Cares.

During the event, Carlen "arrested" Doylestown Township Supervisor Barbara Lyons. It took $60 donated from the crowd to win her release.

"She was detained for maybe a minute, because she had a lot of friends there," Carlen said Thursday.

But then Snooki stepped in.

Gina Rubel, who heads Doylestown's Furia Rubel communications firm, dresssed as the Jersey Shore star and made the crowd donate money to hear Lyons sing.

"She got $750 and I had to sing a song. And I did. Out loud," said Lyons, who sings in her church choir and with a group that visits local hospices to sing for the elderly.

In the end, though, Carlen still came out on top. CB Cares director Kimberly Cambra said Carlen raised more than $2,500 in "tips" to donate to the cause.

Carlen worked to retain his title even before the event by personally recruiting guests for his table and asking Doylestown businesses to donate gift certificates and epicurean items to be auctioned during the dinner to help bolster his tips, she said.

Fellow waiters Mike Jerrick and Jennaphr Frederick, FOX29’s Good Day personalities, raised $2,200 and $2,300, respectively, Cambra said Thursday. They brought items from FOX shows House, American Idol and Glee to auction off, helping to boost their take.

Elaine Pasqua entertained as Marilyn Monroe and CB East principal Abe Lucabaugh recaptured his "push-up" champion status by beating out two other waiters, earning tips in the process.

Sporting their aprons for the fifth consecutive year since the gala’s inception were Greg Sante, Jesse Berdinka and State Rep. Marguerite Quinn, who arrived with tray in hand and immediately began earning tips during the VIP reception. 

In all, the volunteer wait staff collected $8,700, and the event overall raised nearly $30,000, Cambra said.

Plans already are underway to make next year's event even bigger and better.

Lyons, who has participated in the gala for years, said the night is a fun way to do good.

"The event brings the CB Cares message home by getting everyone who cares about raising healthier youth together in one room," Lyons said. "It’s heartwarming to see everyone who cares so much in one room having fun. It energizes us to continue on."

And Carlen? He's already preparing for next year.

"I want to make it a three-peat," he said.

Prom Partners Promotes
Social Safety

  • March 24, 2012

High school men picking up their tuxedos at one Doylestown
shop will carry home a reminder message.

High school students picking up their prom tuxedos at
Ventresca Ltd. in Doylestown will find colorful messages on the hangers.

Ventresca's is partnering with community organization
CB Cares
to distribute flyers with reminders about not
drinking and driving. The message is of primary importance
during prom season, CB Cares director Kimberly Cambra said.

Now in its fourth year, the Prom Partners program is a
collaboration between CB Cares, the Central Bucks Drug Free Community Project and Ventresca's.

CB Cares has printed 1,000 of the green flyers, which
Ventresca's will distribute with every tuxedo rental. The message reads, "Look Good, Choose Well, Get Home Safely."

For more information about CB Cares, visit cb-cares.org.

News from CB Cares
Last month, a group of dedicated Drug-Free Community coalition members from Bucks County including CB Cares attended the
national CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) conference in DC. We attended workshops and heard from leaders such as Mr. Gil Kerlikowske, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and other expert speakers about the ATOD (alcohol, tobacco and other drugs) climate across the country.

During the conference, we went to Capitol Hill and met with Congressman Fitzpatrick and Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA). This was the very first time that two members of Congress met with a group of community coalitions, an East meets West, to hear from the Bucks County Drug Free coalitions. Together they spent an hour learning about our current Drug Free Community Project efforts, listening to our pleas to maintain the funding earmarked for ATOD prevention Programs, and Bono Mack, herself, remarked about her personal commitment to reduce prescription drug misuse.

The very NEXT day Bono Mack wrote and sent letters regarding the prescription drug misuse epidemic to Pam Bondi, Florida’s Attorney General and Michele Leonhart, Administrator of the DEA.
Unfortunately, Congresswoman Bono Mack’s letters didn’t save the life of Whitney Houston, but they are an absolute necessity to begin to get the message out to our legislators, doctors and health agencies about this out- of-control situation that has a hold on this country. Talk Now, Talk Often!

Doylestown Observer


February 7, 2012 By katie

Sixteen years ago Richard Reif and Dr. N. Robert Laws had a vision for an organization dedicated to a healthy community – one with positive attitudes, behaviors, and values. Today that organization fosters a healthy community by providing valuable youth and parent programs to the Central Bucks community as CB Cares.

CB Cares upholds this mission by serving as a community catalyst, engaging, empowering and linking the various community sectors through programs, resources, and activities to maintain those positive attitudes, behaviors, and values. They are a non-profit organization, working as a coalition with community leaders, agencies, businesses, schools and families.

Studies of more than 2.2 million young people consistently show that the more Developmental Assets young people have, the more likely they are to thrive and less likely to engage in a wide range of high-risk behaviors. The framework for all CB Cares programs is the 40 Developmental Assets®.

CB Cares partners with the Central Bucks School District to identify and promote these positive behaviors and values. Administrators, counselors, teachers and the 40 Assets ambassadors in Central Bucks work with CB Cares to provide students with opportunities to build Assets, which in turn, build their character.

CB Cares Asset building programs include:

  • Boomerang Youth Recognition Award program (recognizes students who model the behavior of one of the 40 Assets);
  • The Backpack Newsflash;
  • Y2C (Youth to Community Arts Events);
  • Martin Luther King Day of Service;
  • Prom Partner;
  • Safe Driving Contract for new drivers and their parents.

CB Cares accomplishments cover drug and alcohol use prevention programs, adult and youth volunteerism, topic-driven town meetings such as teen driving, parenting support, and a variety of other community programs geared toward building healthy teen relationships and making healthy lifestyle choices. 

To learn about how to donate, get involved or CB Cares’ programs, visit www.cb-cares.org.

Doylestown Observer

C.B. Cares teen volunteers donate books to
Child, Home & Community

March 5, 2012 By katie

CB Cares

Teens from C.B. East High School – with support from C.B. Cares – have facilitated a book drive that began on Martin Luther
King Day 2011. The teens collected books throughout the
community and generously donated 2,000 children’s books
to Child, Home & Community of Doylestown. The book drive
was spearheaded by C.B. East senior Rachel Fryatt. Pictured delivering children’s books to Child, Home & Community are
Rachel (right) and Joe Sculley.

Doylestown Observer

Local family partners with CB Cares
to recognize positive coaching

November 30, 2011 By katie

CB Cares has announced the newly created CB Cares Positive Coaching Award. This annual award comes from the desire
of the Jones family (Larry, Lucy, Tyler, Wyatt and Ginny) of
Chalfont to fund a yearly recognition of a coach exemplifying
positive coaching – putting emphasis on the health and well-being
of the child, serving as a positive role model, and having a positive influence in the lives of young people.

Specifically, the recipient will be recognized for teaching positive
life lessons through sports, providing leadership, and promoting sportsmanship, fair play, motivation and respect. All of these behaviors and values are consistent with the 40 Developmental Assets, the framework of CB Cares’ programs, and thus the partnership in bringing this Award to the Central Bucks community.

The Jones family has participated in many sports over the past
two decades, with three children who at different times played soccer, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, cross country, and track
and field. Both parents have been actively involved, in the
capacity of coach and “behind the scenes.”

The Jones’ family understands the impact of positive coaching
in the lives of young athletes, and they feel strongly about putting positive coaching in the spotlight in Central Bucks. They have committed to funding a $500 award to the selected coach who
will also receive a beautiful engraved plaque. The recipient will
be honored at a community ceremony in late spring.

Nominations are now being accepted and will be received through April 30th, 2012.

For more information, visit CB Cares’ Web site, www.cb-cares.org.

Non-profit organizations receive grants from FCP

November 1, 2011 By katie

CB Cares of Doylestown works as a coalition with community
leaders, agencies, businesses, schools and families for the
purpose of improving the quality of life in Central Bucks County.  

“CB Cares will use the grant to implement its Y2C Youth to Community Arts Series, which will promote the talents of youth
in the areas of performing, visual and vocal arts, which serves to strengthen the positive bonds between youth and the
community at large,” said Kimberly Cambra, CB Cares
Director, who accepted the award on behalf of her
organization. “The purpose of this program is to promote
youth pro-social activities in the community, to recognize
and reward them for such activities and to deter them from
becoming involved in risky or antisocial activities. The grant
will serve 85 youth who will be involved in 60 performance venues.”


Taking Their Message to the Streets

Students and community volunteers tied printed ribbons around Doylestown Borough lampposts Friday afternoon in honor of Red Ribbon Week.

More than a dozen volunteers spread out through Doylestown Borough Friday afternoon, tying on a message of drug-abuse prevention.

The ribbons are in honor of Red Ribbon Week. Now in its 25th
year, the observance during the last week of October is the
oldest and largest alcohol and drug prevention program in the country, said Melanie Swanson, of The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania.

Elementary schools have long used the week's message to
educate kids about the importance of not using alcohol,
tobacco and drugs, Kimberly Cambra said Friday, addressing the group gathered behind Class-Harlan Real Estate in Doylestown.

"This year, we decided to take the message to the streets,
and we're doing that today with the help of the youth in our community," said Cambra, who is head of the community
organization CB Cares.

Doylestown Mayor Libby White also addressed the group of volunteers, talking about the work being done by the coalition
that includes CB Cares, The Council, the Central Bucks Family
YMCA, Doylestown Hospital and the Doylestown food pantry.

"There are a lot of people looking out for you," White said. "Please don't ever think otherwise."

State Rep. Marguerite Quinn, a Republican who represents the Doylestown area, also stopped by to present a proclamation
in honor of the effort.

The young volunteers worked in pairs, tying the ribbons on lampposts the line the streets of downtown Doylestown.

Red Ribbon Week traces its beginnings to 1985 in Imperial
Valley, CA, the hometown of Enrique "Kiki" Camarena. The young agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration had been working undercover, investigating a drug cartel in Mexico when he disappeared in February 1985. His body was found a month later.

His friends and congressman started "Camarena Clubs," whose members pledged to remain drug-free in honor of his sacrifice.
They wore red ribbons in his honor.

Today's Red Ribbon Week honors Camarena's memory and
supports the work of community coalitions trying to stem the influence of drugs on their communities.

Happy Endings Become New Beginnings

What started as a book drive for a fire-ravaged city school may develop into a relationship between schools in Central Bucks and Philadelphia.

  • By Sarah Larson Doylestown-Buckingham-New Britain Patch
  • September 22, 2011
  • http://doylestown.patch.com/articles/happy-endings-

On Wednesday, Rachel Fryatt turned 18.

But the senior at Central Bucks East High School wasn’t focused
on getting presents; she was giving them.

Rachel took a trip into Philadelphia Wednesday to help deliver
8,000 books she and five other CB East students collected
under the auspices of CB Cares, the community group that
supports positive character development in Central Bucks

The trip was the culmination of a book drive that began on
Martin Luther King Day. Its beneficiary ended up being a school in desperate need.

“We thought it would be a good idea to do a book drive,
and then we heard about a charter school that burned down in Philly,” Fryatt said Wednesday. “We thought, ‘How great
would it be if kids were helping kids in this situation?’”

The Global Leadership Academy, a charter school in west Philadelphia, caught fire in January.

"Everything was lost in the fire," the school’s CEO Naomi
Booker was quoted as saying in The Inquirer then. "There
is not a pencil, not a book, not a crayon.”

CB Cares director Kimberly Cambra saw the news coverage
of the fire. She already was at work planning service projects
that her group would sponsor on Martin Luther King Day.
A book drive to restore the devastated school’s library
seemed like a perfect fit, Cambra said.

Rachel, who lives in Buckingham, arranged for drop boxes
to be placed at eight of the district’s elementary schools.
Each week, the young students would fill the boxes with
books they had outgrown or no longer wanted.

Then, each week, Rachel and five other CB East students -
Kendall Kirsteier, Ty Kooser, Kelly Lapp, Joey Sculley and Connor Wright - would go collect the books.

By the time the book drive ended in April, the team had collected nearly 10,000 books, Cambra said.

The students, who are all now seniors at CB East, sorted
the books a little each week this summer, Fryatt said.

From the initial mountain of donations, the students culled about 8,000 appropriate for kindergarten through eighth grades.

Cambra stored the books in an empty office until the Philadelphia school moved into its new building at 46th and Girard and could accept the books.

They were delivered to the Global Leadership Academy on Wednesday in a cargo van volunteered for the purpose by Fred Beans car dealerships.

Cambra said Wednesday evening that the books made a huge difference to the more than 500 students at the charter school.

"I really wish I could have brought people from our community to Philadelphia with me, because they could have seen that we are changing lives one page at a time," Cambra said.

Once she had seen the school and met the students and
Booker and her educators, Cambra decided on the spot
that the book donation would not be a one-time event. It
would be the first step in a relationship between CB Cares
and the charter school.

"They knew when we left that we weren’t leaving," Cambra said. "This wasn’t about making us feel good. This was living the 40 assets, getting kids involved to help other kids."

In addition to those books, another 2,000 books for babies,
toddlers and preschoolers will be donated to Child, Home and Community. The Doylestown-based group works with
pregnant teens to ensure healthy births, enhance family
stability and promote self-sufficiency.

The offer of the donated books, which are expected to arrive
at the group’s offices on West Street in October, were a welcome surprise, director Beth Styer said Wednesday.

“We work with teen moms and dads throughout Bucks County,
and we talk to them about the importance of reading to
their child every day,” Styer said. “Many of them may not
have grown up with a lot of books in the house and may
not have a lot of books themselves.

“We talk about the different nurturing routines that we can encourage, and one of them is reading to your children. So it’s
just wonderful to have books to give out to our young moms
and dads so they can start to build up libraries for their children.”

As for Fryatt, who is in the process of applying to colleges,
she said she learned a valuable lesson.

“It didn’t take that much time and effort, because so many people helped,” said Fryatt, who wants to study audiology and speech pathology. “I hope what I did inspires other kids to feel like
they can make a difference, too.”

 Dr. Naomi Booker, CEO of Global Leadership Academy,
(second from left) poses with Rachel Fryatt, Kimberly Cambra,
and eighth grade teachers at the Philadelphia charter school.

A good ending:
10,000 books for children in need

By Christina Kristofic
Staff Writer/The Intelligencer

Posted: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 5:45 am

Rachel Fryatt
Rachel Fryatt

When the Global Leadership Academy burned down in January,
the West Philadelphia charter school lost everything —
every desk, chair, textbook, piece of paper and pencil.

CB Cares director Kimberly Cambra and Central Bucks East
High School student Rachel Fryatt heard about it in the news
and wanted to do something to help.

“Why not? I’m capable of doing it. I have the time,” said Rachel,
now 18 and a senior at CB East.

So they organized a book drive and collected 10,000 books to replace some of Global Leadership Academy’s lost library books.

The books are being delivered to Global Leadership Academy on Wednesday — a week after the charter school opened in a new building.

“It brings tears to my eyes what has happened over this last
nine or 10 months,” said Naomi Booker, chief executive officer of Global Leadership Academy. “People have donated from every
walk of life. People came to the (temporary school), painted,
moved furniture and put up walls, and helped our teachers get started all over again. People donated pencils and paper and computers and everything. Here’s a group that not only have
they been collecting these books all this time, but they held them there until we had a (permanent) place to put them.”

CB East seniors Connor Wright and Kelly Lapp

CB East seniors Connor Wright and Kelly Lapp

Booker said she feels blessed.

The Global Leadership Academy is a public charter school that teaches approximately 400 students. It focuses on helping
students make international connections with their studies.

The school operated in an old Catholic school building in West Philadelphia until the Jan. 9 fire. Booker said a group held a
party in the building the night of Jan. 8, and the fire marshal determined that the fire started because someone left a candle burning.

The fire destroyed the school in about two hours.

“It took everything,” Booker said. “We lost everything in the fire.”

Books collected

The academy was building a new school at the time, but
couldn’t move in because it wasn’t going to be ready until September. So the school district of Philadelphia allowed the
charter school to rent a building for the remainder of the school

People throughout the regional educational community and Philadelphia began working to help the the school.

In Central Bucks, Rachel Fryatt put book collection boxes in
eight Central Bucks elementary schools: Butler, Buckingham,
Cold Spring, Gayman, Groveland, Jamison, Mill Creek and Pine
Run. She went to each school once a week to collect the books
and then take them to CB Cares’ office in Doylestown Township.

Cambra said Rachel broke her hand in the spring and “was literally doing it single-handedly.”

Rachel told some of her friends about the book drive, and they helped her sort and box up the books.

“The job seemed easy to do,” said Connor Wright, a senior at CB East.

And, CB East senior Kelly Lapp said, “I know I like to read. My childhood was based around so many books. I couldn’t imagine a childhood without books.”

The teens said they sometimes had trouble staying on task
when they were sorting and boxing books; they would see
favorite books from their childhoods, such as “Cloudy with
a Chance of Meatballs” and the Berenstain Bears books, and
stop to flip through them.

CB Cares will give 8,000 books for children in kindergarten
through eighth grades to the Global Leadership Academy
and 2,000 books for children younger than kindergarten
age to Child Home & Community in Doylestown. Child Home & Community is a nonprofit that works with teen mothers to
help them graduate from high school and raise their children.

Fred Beans car dealerships donated a cargo van for CB Cares to transport the books.

Rachel said Monday she was excited to finally be able to deliver
the books on Wednesday. It’s her birthday.

“I couldn’t have done it without Kimberly,” she said.

And Cambra said she’s “very happy these books are getting in the hands of kids who wouldn’t have otherwise had them.”

Kimberly Cambra
Kimberly Cambra, Executive Director, CB Cares


Thursday, August 19, 2010

From Zeppelin to the Peas, new teen music duo mixes it up


On Saturday night, Saxbys Coffee in Doylestown is nearly
empty with the exception of a few couples spread throughout
the coffeehouse, the guy at the window who has one ear
occupied with his Bluetooth and the other filled with an earphone that is plugged into his laptop, and my friend Megan and I. 

A talented girl with a blond ponytail and astounding voice is
finishing up a song by Kelly Clarkson as Ben and Jess, who are
on deck to perform, stand ready to set up with their guitar and microphone.

Ben Hamalian and Jessica Bayer are both soon-to-be
sophomores at Central Bucks East. They have been
performing as a duo called Sapphire in various venues
throughout the summer.

This particular Saturday, Sapphire is closing out the night
at Saxbys. Ben begins their set with a rock version of the
national anthem, which is followed by a set of songs
ranging from Aerosmith’s “Dream On” to Etta James’ jazzy
“At Last.”

The highlight of the night is when they play “Stairway to
Heaven.” Though she is no Robert Plant, Jess puts her
own twist on the classic song with her soulful voice, and
Ben’s guitar solo is so good that a couple goes up to
compliment him when the song is over. 

Near the end of their set, Ben ditches his guitar for the
mike and shows off his unexpected rapping skills as he
duets with Jess on the song “Meet Me Halfway” by the
Black Eyed Peas.  By the end of the last song, everyone
in Saxbys is listening (even the guy at the window turns
off his headphones for a minute). When they finish, Ben
and Jess come over to join Megan and me as we are
slurping up the last of our Kookie Creme and a wild-berry

Sapphire, which was formed at the end of the school year,
is named after the birthstone of both members, who are
September-born. This summer is the first time that they have performed together.

How did you guys first come up with the idea to perform together?
“It was after the protest choir,” Ben says, referring to an
assembly that had happened at Holicong Middle School in
which a student choir sang protest songs from the Vietnam
War era. “I saw her sing, and I guess she saw me play guitar.
We were, like, ‘Hey, we should play together!’ ”

How did you come by this opportunity to play in public?

“Well, we read about it in the Backpack Newsflash,” Jess says,laughing. “You know, that newsletter we would get
everymonth at school — the green one! There was this thing in theback about the CB Cares Youth 2 Community program. It’s foryoung bands and singing groups to come sing in public. And wehad to audition for it.”

What was auditioning like?

“Well, it was just in front of Barbara Gross over there
who runs this whole thing,” Jess says, pointing to a
woman sitting afew tables away who had been watching them perform. “Wehad, like, five songs and ….” “And they loved us,”
Ben cuts in, stating this in a matter-of-fact voice.  “Yeah,”
agrees Jess. “And they booked us!”

What kind of music do you listen to? How do you decide whatsongs you are going to perform?

“We are so diverse,” replies Ben. “Like, our set, it’s all the way
from patriotic to classic rock. Everything, like hip-hop ,the
Black Eyed Peas.”  “I like a mixture of everything,”Jess adds.
“I like to pick songs that fit my voice well, andBen’s into the whole hard-rock thing.”

Do you guys think you have a future in music?

“I would like to!” says Ben.  “That would be great,” Jess agrees.
“I would love that. It would be like a dream come true, but realistically, I don’t know if it’s going to happen. ”Even
though Ben and Jess aren’t certain if they are going to
pursue a career in music, the two of them agree
Youth 2Community is a great program they will definitely
continue to participate in. It’s the perfect opportunity for
teenagers to share their talent, whether it be music, writing
poetry or designing artwork, with the public. “Be like us,”
Jess says, laughing.“Sing and play guitar!” “If you have a talent, don’t hide it. Pursue it,” Ben adds. Upcoming Sapphire
performances include at 8 p.m. Sunday and Aug. 28 at Chubby’s DairyBarn in Plumsteadville.

Intelligencer Now


Mural Unveiling in Doylestown

Rick Kintzel/Staff Photographer – November 30, 2009

Left, Casey DeMas of Pennridge High School; Shannon Fox of CB South High School and Allison Terry of Tohickon Middle School
stand with Amanda Layre who donated her studio so the
students could work on the mural behind them after an
unveiling ceremony at Doylestown Branch of the Bucks
County Free Library Monday night. CB Cares and the Bucks
County Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence recruited
area students to create a mural with elements commonly
seen in the environment and toxins to communicate their
message to other teens like a metaphor about polluting
your body with alcohol. Three other students, Brendan
Grant and Bobby Rolley of CB East and Devon Smith of
CB West were not at the ceremony.

The Central Bucks Drug Free Community Project


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